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tv   FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace  FOX  July 26, 2009 9:00am-10:00am EDT

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>> i'm bret baier in for chris wallace and this is "fox news wallace and this is "fox news sunday." captioning made possible by fox news >> fixing health care in america stalls on capitol hill. we'll ask robert gibbs, the white house press secretary. also, where do republicans stand in the debate? what's their strategy moving forward? we'll ask jon kyl, the number two republican in the senate. and the president takes sides in the dispute between the professor and the policeman. >> the cambridge police acted
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stupidly. >> then steps back from those words. where does the controversy stand now? we'll ask our sunday regulars to weigh in on the week's most talked about story. all right now on "fox news sunday." and hello again from fox news in washington. with us now to discuss a range of issues, robert gibbs, assistant to the president and white house press secretary. robert, welcome back to "fox news sunday." >> thanks for having me. >> presidents before prime-time news conferences usually have detailed preparation sessions. and president obama has already had four prime-time news conferences. before wednesday's news conference, did you prepare him for a question about henry gates' arrest in cambridge? >> look, safe to say we went over a whole lot of topics we thought might come up. certainly this was a topic that was and has been in the news. i think the president on friday spoke about the fact that he
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hadn't calibrated his words well. probably unnecessarily added to the media frenzy around what was going on in cambridge, so much so that even the police officer, sergeant crowley, that he talked to from cambridge, asked him for advice on how to get the press off of his loan and the president said i'm trying to figure out how to get the press off my lawn, too. >> did he read the police report beforehand? >> i don't know if the president read the police report. i think the president was clear in discussing the fact that he did not know all the details of what had transpired in cambridge. my guess is only a very few people know exactly what happened in every instance in that. again, i know the president -- >> i guess my question is -- early on, did he determine that he was going to take sides to back his friend to the extent that he did wednesday night? >> well, again, i think the
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president discussed the notion that saying beforehand that he knew professor gates, that he didn't have all the details, and in hindsight, understands that his words were not calibrated as they should have been. and, look, bret, it's our hope that as the president said, there can be -- this can be part of a teachable moment, that we can create a better communication and a dialogue between communities and police and help everyone do their job a little bit better, and it's our hope that soon professor gates and sergeant crowley can sit at the white house and talk about some of these issues and have a beer with the president. >> has that been scheduled yet? >> i don't know that it's been scheduled. it's our hope we'll get it done. sergeant crowley told the president he was game. and i read that professor gates is the same way. so hopefully we can get that done in the next several days. >> in fact, excepting that invitation for the beer, he says
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he hopes it helps -- so does the president think this is racial profili profiling? >> i don't think the president has come down on one side of that or the other. again, i think he would tell you he doesn't know all the details of this, but if what we can do is bring professor gates and sergeant crowley together to discuss some of the issues and the events that surrounded that day in cambridge, and if that helps communities and law enforcement work together as they did in illinois on this important issue with then state senator barack obama, if communities and law enforcement throughout the country can do that, i think we'll all be a little bit better off. that's what this is really all about. >> you're talking about law enforcement here, and friday morning you were asked about a statement by the fraternal order of police supporting sergeant crowley, and in response you
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said, "i think the fraternal order of police endorsed mccain." were you suggesting that the fraternal order of police was being disingenuous in their statement? >> no, let's be clear. i was asked about their statement, and then the follow-up before i answered, they said i think these guys supported -- didn't these guys all support you? and i said, no, i think this organization supported john mccain. >> but just by bringing up the politics -- >> no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. i will take responsibility for a lot of things, but i'm not going to take responsibility for a question that was asked of me where somebody says didn't these guys support you. i have friends that work for the fraternal order of police. this was something that was asked of me. i'm simply pointing that out. it doesn't matter who they supported in the last election or who they supported 10 elections ago. that wasn't the point here. that's not what the president thought was the point here. this was about the notion that
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the president had calibrated his words wrongly. president understands and respects the job that law enforcement has to do each and every day. it's not an easy job. but i wasn't injecting politics in that. that was part of the question that was asked of me. >> fair enough. last thing -- friday when the president came back out and said he needed to calibrate his words differently, how much, if any, did the news conference friday afternoon in which cambridge police officers and union leaders said this the president should apologize to, quote, all law enforcement personnel throughout the country, affect the president's decision to come out friday afternoon? >> bret, he did not watch that news conference. he was working in the oval office throughout most of that day. i think that at that point he understood that, again, his words had unnecessarily contributed to the frenzy around this, that he felt it was important to reach out to the police officer, to explain what he was trying to say. they had a very good conversation, and i think cooler
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heads have prevailed. >> another topic. today vice president biden writes in an op ed in the "new york times" about the stimulus package, the act was intended to provide steady support for our economy over an extended period, not a jolt that would last only a few months. the vice president has used the term "jolt" before to describe the stimulus and the president has previously described the stimulus as a jolt. his first news conference, he said the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life. so is the administration trying to move the goal posts here about what the stimulus was intended to do? >> no, i think the important part of the statement that the vice president makes in the op ed is a jolt over only a few months. there isn't -- remember, we are experiencing an economic downturn unlike anything we've seen since the great depression. in fact, when we came into office, that was the real discussion. were we headed for a second great depression. we've now pulled back from the
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precipice of that in some part because of the contributions of the recovery plan. but understand that one piece of legislation isn't going to fully get our economy back on track. what its intention was to do was to cushion that downturn not over a one or two or four-month period of time but over a two-plus-year period of time by putting money into the pockets of hard-working americans, investing in infrastructure and investment programs, and laying that foundation to create jobs for the long term. >> the president still thinks it's working. >> absolutely. i think there's no doubt that the severity of the downturn would have been longer and deeper were it not for the recovery act. >> health care. what's the president's expectation now? we've heard senator leaders saying they're not going to make august 7 to get a bill done. house leaders are suggesting it might not happen next week either. what's the president's expectation? >> well, our expectation, the reason we're still very optimistic about this is that we're continuing to make progress. you know, it's unique that we're
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at a point in this debate where about 80% of what we need to get comprehensive health care reform that cut costs for small businesses and families makes it affordable for them, we've got about 80% agreement. we're still working on that last 20%. so we are enthusiastic about the progress that's been made. >> does the house vote this week? >> i don't know whether the house votes this week, bret. but even this weekend, there have been meetings at the committee level to get a proposal moving forward, to get more progress. the president's task is continued progress on this. he set a deadline in order to poke and prod congress into moving, because as you well know, having spent any time in this town, without a little poking and prodding, not a lot gets done. we're pleased to see progress and as long as we see continued progress, we think we're on the road to getting comprehensive health care reform by this fall. >> why not say to lawmakers stay in town until you hammer out a
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deal? the president has, you know, both parties -- both chambers, rather, his party controlling both chambers. why not say stay here, knock it out? >> we'll evaluate where we are on progress. >> so that's still a possibility. >> look, if by the end of the week we've made enough progress that we're moving in that right direction, then having lawmakers go home for their regularly scheduled august recess is probably a good thing. the key test on this is are we making progress, are we getting closer and closer to being able to tell that small business owner in new jersey that the president talked about yester y yesterday, that is having to lay off people because of the high cost of insurance or may drop his insurance coverage altogether, that we're actually acting on doing something that will help his business be more competitive. >> after watching the legislative process with the stimulus bill and now watching what's happening with health care reform legislation, does the president think perhaps now it might have been wiser to get more involved in the early stages with producing or creating a bill, producing language from the white house, from the executive?
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>> well, bret, each and every day our staff is up on capitol hill. i know the president spoke with democrats and republicans throughout the week about their progress on health care reform. staff and the president met for several hours with democrats in the white house again this week. he's been on the phone with major players in the republican party on health care reform. i think the white house is intimately involved in this. we understand congress has to do its job just as the president is doing his job. the test is making progress on getting affordable, accessible health insurance, and i think we're getting closer and closer. >> just last week executive branch wrote a piece of legislation, a section, sending it to congress to be included in the bill called the independent medicare advisory council act. the cbo, congressional budget office, sent a letter analyzing that section. and they estimated it would
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only, as drafted, yield about $2 billion over the next 10 years. and they say in this letter, "in the cbo's judgment, the probability is high that no savings would be realized." cbo goes on to say that potentially substantial savings could be down the road. but it doesn't seem like a -- >> we didn't put that quote up on the screen, did we? >> it's wishy-washy. there's a chance for substantial savings down the road is the next sentence. >> cbo analysis is always about whether there's a chance. let's understand this, bret. the proposal was not intended to garner a huge amount of savings in the first 10 years. included in the recommendations is savings wouldn't come until 2015. the notion that you wouldn't see savings in the first 10 years for a proposal that isn't going to make recommendations for six years isn't that surprising.
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it's modeled after medpac which is what republicans in 1997 developed to cut waste and inefficiency out of medicare and medicaid. every year that this medpac has been available, they have forwarded to congress a suggestion that we cut the fee that is paid to private insurance companies to handle medicare. basically, to do on top of what the government is always doing by paying them a subsidy. each and every year that recommendation comes before congress and congress doesn't act. the president has included cutting that subsidy in more than half a trillion dollars of savings. >> the cbo projects that the house bill as of now increases the deficit over the 10 years by $230 billion. >> well -- >> this was talked about. the imac thing was talked about as a key component. the 39 said i will pledge that
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health insurance reform will not add to our deficit. being very specific. if you extrapolate out the cbo analysis of the house bill, the house ways and means committee says it could raise it even more. >> if we add 40 years to the end of this, you could get numbers like this. >> it starts in 2015, goes to 2025 and by 2024 you're at $750 billion if you're talking about savings -- >> you didn't add 40 years. a decade and a half. >> the program starts in 2015. >> here's what's important, bret. we talked about what the president said on wednesday. the president meant what he said on wednesday by the fact that health care reform would not add to our deficit, period. we're not -- >> period, not in the next 10 years. >> we're not going to sign legislation that adds to the
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deficit in order to provide health reform for tens of millions of americans who are struggling under the increasingly high costs of health insurance. i think what's most important in this debate is what happens if we do nothing, bret, if we do nothing, millions of people are going to lose their health insurance. if we do nothing, millions of small businesses aren't going to be able to afford the coverage they already provide. some of them are going to have to lay people off. some of those people that get laid off are going to enter a private insurance market that will discriminate against them if they're already sick or they have a pre-existing condition. that's what happens if we do nothing. >> back to wednesday's news conference, here's the president talking about what is wrong with the system. >> your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats. the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, you know what, i make a lot more money if i take this kid's tonsils out. >> now, since then, i've talked
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to a lot of doctors who were offended by that language. one sent an e-mail that said to think i spent 40 years training and borrowed $150,000 to become a doctor so i can take out a kid's tonsils because it's good for my bottom line is demeaning. i'm appalled. >> we had to get a system, a health care system that works for the doctors and the patients. right now in this country, we pay twice as much as every other developed country in the world and our health outcomes are less. you heard the president talk about imagine if you and your next-door neighbor bought the same car. yours didn't perform as well and you paid $6,000 more. that's what our health care system is right now. >> does the president believe that doctors make their decisions forced on the bottom line that this were -- they're forced to make these decisions? >> the president thinks we ought to provide incentives for doctors to treat and cure
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patients, not be a slave to or have to just simply conform to a fee schedule. >> you understand where doctors would be offended. >> absolutely. but i also understand that we need to think about just as doctors do the whole quality of care. instead of worrying about how much somebody gets paid to amputate the foot of a diabetic patient at the -- basically toward the end course of that disease rather than trying to look at health care -- health prevention and wellness when a kid is younger to address childhood obesity, to ensure that that person never gets to the point where they're diagnosed to diabetes, there's absolutely no incentive in our health care system right now to look at health, wellness and prevention to prevent some child from becoming obese and developing diabetes, but there's the fee schedule at the end of this for what happens when you have to amputate their foot. that's what we're trying to change. that's what would make the quality of health care better in
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this country. >> robert, thanks for being here today. >> thanks for having me. >> up next, the republican view of health care reform and much more with senator minority whip jon kyl. stay tuned. welcome to the now network. population: 49 million. right now 1.2 million people are on sprint mobile broadband. 31 are streaming a sales conference from the road. eight are wearing bathrobes. two... less. - 154 people are tracking shipments on a train. - ( train whistles ) 33 are im'ing on a ferry. and 1300 are secretly checking email... - on a vacation. - hmm? ( groans ) that's happening now. america's most dependable 3g network. bringing you the first and only wireless 4g network. sprint. the now network. deaf, hard of hearing and people with speech disabilities access
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>> joining us now for more on the health care reform debate, the number two republican in the senate, jon kyl, who comes to us from his home state of arizona. senator, welcome back to "fox news sunday." >> good morning. thank you. >> senator, you are on the senate finance committee, seen by many here in washington as really the only way to get a bipartisan piece of legislation when it comes to health care reform out. give us the behind-the-scenes of what's happening with the senate finance committee and will a deal get done. >> first of all, i'll set the stage in the house. there are three different committees and they have not been able to bring a bill to the
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floor yet. they were hoping to do that within this next week. that doesn't look like. in the senate, there are two committees, the health, education, labor and pensions committee, which has reported a bill out, more along the lines of the house bill and what the president has talked about. in the finance committee, which supports key parts of it, talking about how to finance all of this, we have had a lot of meetings both formal and informal meetings, but there's been no product yet. and one of the reasons, as you point out, is this is very hard. it's hard to get democrats together to agree on a bill let alone republicans. it's important to remind folks that democrats have a 60-40 majority in the senate and a bigger margin than that in the house. if they got together, they could pass a bill. this isn't being held up by republicans. it's hard. there have been a lot of informal negotiations over the past three or four weeks. no bill has emerged yet. i think it is probably unlikely that we will actually produce a bill in the committee before the august recess, but, bret, i want
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to say i think that's a good thing. you know, this is a democratic republic where the people are supposed to tell us what to do. they've heard about a lot of different plans and it's a good thing to go home over the august recess, lay it out to our constituents and say here are all the pros and cons. american people need to speak to this. if they do, we'll make wiser decision. >> senator chuck grassley from iowa is the ranking member of the senate finance committee. do you trust that senator grassley will be able to negotiate something that you will be able to sign onto? >> i'm not at all sure. chuck's had a hard time and mike enzi who is also a member of the finance committee has been involved in those conversations as well. we've talked about this a lot. he brings back reports of very difficult divisions. part of it is the cbo scores.
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the congressional budget office is required to tell us how much the director thinks it's going to cost so we can try to find ways to pay for it or to reduce expenses in some other areas so that we come out net without having any increase in costs. it turns out that the congressional budget office in scoring these different proposals has scored very little savings and huge costs. so that we'll have a deficit under either the house bill or the senate bill anywhere from $240 billion to $600 billion. and they're having a hard time doing as much as they want to do and still not having that kind of budget deficit. >> what are the key sticking points for republicans? what are the republican alternatives that possibly could make a deal going forward? >> i'll answer that two ways. first of all, there are specific problems in our health delivery system today, especially costs for small businesses insuring
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their folks and some folks who have pre-existing health conditions and so on. but according to a fox poll, 91% of americans have insurance and 80% rate their insurance good or excellent. republicans believe what we ought to do is focus solutions to the specific problems that are -- that exist today and not scrap the whole system and impose some kind of new government-run regulatory system, which is what the bills that the president and the house and the health committee are doing. that the american people don't want either. let me give you some specifics. one of the things that the president never talks about because of support of trial lawyers is the fact that we have a jackpot justice system in terms of liability lawsuits. and we've got to get a handle on that. republicans want to reform that. we believe that could take $100 billion a year in excess costs,
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defense of medicine, that's a way to reduce costs by $100 billion. newt gingrich has talked about the fact that there's $60 billion to $120 billion in medicare and medicaid fraud. insurance companies pay a lot of people to weed out that fraud because they couldn't stay in business if they had to eat those numbers. third, one of the problems is that small businesses can't band together and have the same kind of purchasing power that big businesses do, so we support association and small business health reform. fourth, here's a big one. we believe that insurance companies should be able to sell health insurance across state lines just like life insurance, car insurance, all the other. you can buy a car insurance policy from state farm anywhere in the country. there isn't a big enough risk pool in a lot of the states to have affordable insurance and therefore if they could sell across state lines, it would provide that for them. hsa reform, health savings
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accounts. we should be able to pay our premiums from savings accounts. individuals should have the same kind of tax deduction as businesses do. big business ought to be able to get its claims information from insurance companies so they can compete their insurance. i could go on and on. there are a myriad of specific proposals that we support and they would all have one thing in common. they would either provide greater access or reduce costs, and they wouldn't interfere with the coverage that most americans have and like. >> so, senator, i guess the bottom line question -- the chairman, senator max baucus, and the ranking member, chuck grassley, do you think with the long list of things you just mentioned, that there is a bill that can come out of senate finance that is a compromise? >> i sincerely doubt it, because none of the things that i just talked about have been accepted by the democrats. president obama as a senator voted against most of the things i just mentioned. those are all good ideas. they're republican ideas and our colleagues have voted a lot of
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them down, have not incorporated them into the bills. one other thing. why do they keep voting down republican amendments to insure that there is no rationing of health care? at the end of the day what really matters is what your doctor says you and your family need and you having the ability to provide that for them. instead, the democrat bills insert the government in between to set the rules on what insurance policies can cover and not, what medicare and medicaid can cover and not, and essentially ration the care that we would get. that's their way of cutting costs. we keep offering amendments that say whatever else you do, don't ration care. don't impose policies that would delay or deny care to americans. and they keep voting these amendments down. why? because, of course, at the end of the day, i think most of them appreciate that they are going to be rationing care and that's the wrong way to go. >> so if you were to guess to y today, you would say it's, what, highly unlikely that the president would be signing a
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health care reform legislation by the end of the year? >> the only way that i think he will sign it, and it's quite possible that he'll have something to sign is, frankly, if the american people say we don't like the direction this is going, the costs adding to the deficit, the new taxes, you don't get to keep the insurance that you have, rationing of health care, why don't you instead of trying to redesign the entire health care system, why don't you focus solutions. >> okay. >> i think once they scrap the bills that are out there right now and start over with this approach, we'll have a good chance of doing something meaningful. >> senator, your colleague from south carolina, said this this week. if we're able to stop obama on this, it will be his waterloo. it will break him. your colleague from oklahoma said this. we can stall democratic effort on health reform. we can stall it and it's going
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to be a huge gain for us who want to turn this over in the 2010 election. do you agree with them? >> i don't agree with that language. jim demint said he wanted to break the momentum of passing these bills. they said we had to pass stimulus immediately or the economy would see 8% unemployment. it's now going to 10%. we're saying slow this down so we don't make another bad mistake here. but i do think that because the language has a political implication, it's unfortunate. both sides talked about the politics of these issues. i don't think we ought to be focused on that. >> do you think the president's in trouble with his polls sliding in recent days and weeks? >> well, from a purely political standpoint, yes. but again, that's not my main concern right now. he's only been in office six months and he's got a long way to go and right now i'm more focused on issues like the health care that we have got to get right and i think we need to
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take the time to do it. if that means slowing down the momentum of all of this so the american people can instruct us when we come back home, then i think that's what we ought to do. >> on the topic of funding abortions and whether federal dollars, tax dollars, would be used for that, asked recently about that, if that would, in fact, happen as the bills that have already passed committee, it does happen, the president said rather than wading into that issue at this point, i think it's appropriate to figure out how to deliver cost savings. do you believe that the president is stepping back from that and there will be some kind of commitment that federal dollars will not be used on abortions? >> i hope so. unfortunately, in the democratic bills that passed the house and the bill in the health committee, that's not the case. funding of abortions is required. i used to, as a lawyer, represent a catholic hospital. they do not want to have to do these kinds of things, yet there's mandatory language in some of these bills. the president should step back from that. that would be bad policy. >> now on to supreme court
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nominee sonia sotomayor. the vote in the judiciary committee is tuesday. you announced you are going to vote against that nomination, but at least one republican, lindsey graham, has announced he will vote for her. how many republicans do you think will vote for her on that committee? >> i'm not sure. it may just be one. republicans are not trying to get a big vote either for or against judge sotomayor. each individual republican can vote however he or she wishes. i will vote no. i will tell you if it was a matter of getting her out of the committee onto the floor i would say yes so the full senate could vote on her. i think it won't be an issue. i was very disappointed to the answers to the questions we posed during the hearings. >> what kind of justice -- it appears she's going to pass easily and be confirmed.
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what kind of justice do you think she'll be? >> one of the problems is i don't think we'll know. there is the judge sotomayor that rendered certain decisions, the judge sotomayor that gave certain speeches, the judge sotomayor that testified before our committee sometimes in contradictry ways and it will depend on which one actually starts deciding cases, and because i think she had some burden of of convincing us of her positions on these issues, she certainly didn't carry that burden as far as i was concerned in the committee. i will be voting against her. >> finally, senator, alaska governor sarah palin is stepping down today. do you think she'll be running for president? >> i have no idea. i think she wants to get out of the public limelight and get back to a semi-normal life. >> do you think that was the right move? >> i don't want to be critical because you never know what a family's specific situation is. i kind of wish she had decided to stick out her term as governor. i think she was being very
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effective. the voters obviously had a lot of confidence in her. once you start a job like that, it seems to me you should try to finish it unless there are extenuating circumstances. she did talk about the difficulty for her family and, after all, our families should come first. i'm just not sure. >> senator kyl, thanks for sharing part of your day with us. please come back. >> thank you, bret. >> coming up, our sunday regulars discuss the president's attempt to put out the fire over his controversial comments on the gates arrest when we come right back.
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>> the cambridge police acted stupidly. >> i have to say i'm surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement. i unfortunately gave an impression that i was maligning the cambridge police department or sergeant crowley specifically. >> well, that was the evolution of president obama's comments this week on the arrest of a black harvard professor. now it's time for our sunday panel, brit hume, fox news senior political analyst, and contributors mara liasson of national public radio, bill kristol of "the weekly standard," and juan williams, also from national public radio. brit, you heard robert gibbs' explanation of the president's evolution. your thoughts on all of this. >> well, i think robert gibbs didn't add a lot and was probably trying not to add a lot to the record on this issue.
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what's striking about this is the president was clearly trying to get this over with and put the firestorm out. and yet in the end, he couldn't bring himself to actually apologize for himself. this president who travels the world apologizing for his country couldn't quite apologize for himself. he spoke of not calibrating his words perfectly. he suggested he didn't mean a malign the police officer in question or the cambridge police department but he said they acted stupidly. you obviously malign them. so in the end, this controversy may be nearing an end, but if he'd made an outright apology and said he'd never should have waded into it in the first place, he shouldn't have said any words, if he'd said that, it would be over. here we are talking about it still. i don't think he got the job done. >> mara. >> i think he went a long way to tamp this down. i think the president did
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something really unusual and really interesting in that press conference, which is usually he's very, very careful when he talks about race. it's always on the one hand, on the other hand he rises above the conflict, puts things into a context. this was very personal. he reacted, i think, very viscerally. this is a friend of his. the police department shouldn't have arrested him. they acted stupidly. it sounded like a real heartfelt sentiment. >> gibbs said they did prepare for that. >> yeah, yeah. and then, you know, he talked to his advisers and his wife and heard about the press conference from the cambridge police and decided rightly that he needed to walk back the word stupidly, which he did. he could have said that was stupid of me to say stupidly. he invited them both to a white house which is a very obama thing to do. that's the kind of thing we're used to. he's going to bring both sides together. there's going to be a teachable moment. everybody since the initial
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incident which maureen dowd rightly said was a mixture of race, class and testosterone. everyone is trying to walk down here. the policeman says he supports obama 110%. everybody, i think, needs to climb down, as the president said in his briefing room comments, everybody overreacted. i think the big outcome of this is that this was supposed to be a week when the white house wanted to focus like a laser on health care and nobody paid any attention to that. >> bill. >> i think i'm taking -- you should have talked to mara instead of robert gibbs. the president could have said that was a stupid thing for me to say, but he can't say that for some reason. that would be too self-deprecating and he is an arrogant man and he is entitled to pass judgment on cambridge cops or pediatricians, he feels entitled as president of the
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united states to pass judgments. one of them backfires politically and he tries to walk it back. calm down. i'll have them for a beer at the white house. >> he's going to have to walk it back some way. obviously, this is politically damaging to him. >> even more? >> i mean, they're going to have the meeting this week with crowley and gates. if you look at the poll numbers that are out, initial poll numbers indicate 26% of americans think he handled it well. overwhelmingly, there's been a negative response. in the black community, it's like higher. 71% think what he said was appropriate, but if you stop and think about this for a second, that means about a third of black america thinks he didn't handle this well and that's surprising because as i can tell you as a black person sitting here, there's a lot of tension between black men and police. you know, police can overreact quite quickly. but in this situation, the
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president spoke without the facts and said you can't have a teachable moment if it's based on a lie. what happened is the president reacted and spoke, he spoke about racial profiling and said he acted on this as a state legislator, but this is not about racial profiling. this is about a guy breaking into his house, the neighbor appropriately calls the police who come in response to that. once the police come ask who are you, who else is in the house and then professor gates, according to the police report, begins to berate the officer, talk about his mother, and ask do you know who i am, you don't know who you're dealing with, and continues this after gates is pulled out of the house. gates precedes the officer out of the house. the officer according to the police report, a black policeman and hispanic policeman, the officer tells gates to stop and
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gates continues to berate the officer. is it a poor black kid being treated badly by a cop? police harassment? i don't think so at all. the president wasn't aware of any of this when he spoke out. >> and mr. gates in accepting the population for the beer said he really hopes it helps, especially when it comes to the issue of racial profiling. you're saying it's going to continue even as this summit continues over the beer at the white house. >> well, you know what, it seems to me that if you bring this issue up, and this is so key. the president -- part of the president's appeal is he is a healing force in our nation. a lot of people voted for him, get us pass this point. he's done such a disservice in terms of racial understanding here that he has hurt the country at this moment and i think hurt himself. >> it is testament to the american people's belief that racism is a bad and evil thing,
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that racist is such an insult, such a dirty word. it is really quite a terrible thing in contemporary america to be labeled a racist or thought a racist because the judgment against it is virtually unanimous. it is unacceptable behavior. and it is unfortunately that fact has placed into the hands of certain people a weapon. that word itself is a weapon. know how quickly this professor was to hurl it at this police officer and his continued complaint that racial profiling and insistence that racial profiling was involved here, he continues to wield this weapon. this is, as juan correctly points out, the very kind of thing that one hoped that barack obama would get us past and the fact that this election would help to get us past. but that -- as long as that word is hurled around willy nilly the way it seems to be and freely as it is and used indiscriminately and unwisely as it was in this case, we have a way to go. >> mara, when you look at the
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poll that juan referenced, that 26% say the president handled it well, 46% say poor, and the breakdown of african americans of people who felt he handled it well, 71% were african american, 22% white. what do you see that suggesting and does it hurt the president politically moving forward? >> first of all, i'm assuming that poll was taken before friday. is that correct? before he came out to walk his remarks back. >> yes. >> they were reacting to his -- >> one poll was friday night and one saturday. >> the president -- look, this is reminiscent of the jeremiah wright controversy. it hurt him, but he managed to rise to the occasion and deal with it. now, i think he can do that here. i think he started on friday by coming to the briefing room. he's going to have them both up to the white house and there's a lot the white house can do with a meeting like that. and who knows what else the president does going forward
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about this, but i think it's possible, i think it was a misstep on his part, but i do think he can correct it. i think that's bad. that poll number is bad. that's not what you want. but i do think the president can do a lot of things to correct that or change it. >> i fear we will have to await the arrival of the next president who can apologize for barack obama on this as he so repeatedly does about previous presidents. >> part of the tension here, i've been in my house and had cops come in response to an alarm. i think it reveals something about the nature, anxiety of being black and dealing with cops. you want to say yes, sir and help them if they think someone's hiding in a closet. let them do it. the behavior here would indicate this was not the way black men usually react to cops, so something different is going on here, but it's definitely not about racial profiling. i would argue not about racism, although so many people want to make it about this bigger issue, including our president. >> panel, i have to take a break here. when we come back, health care
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reform health you said by democrats. is this a serious problem for the administration? or legislative bump in the road. we'll be right back. whether you consider it a cruiser or a clunker, you could turn it into cash. get to your dodge, chrysler, and jeep dealer, and get up to double the government's cash for your old car. now get up to $4,500 for your old car... plus, up to an additional $4,500 cash allowance. no turn-in? no problem. your dodge, chrysler, and jeep dealer guarantees everyone up to $4,500 cash allowance... on virtually every model. get to your dodge, chrysler and jeep dealer on the double, and get double cash for your old car!
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>> on this day in 1775, the u.s. postal system was established. benjamin franklin, the first postmaster, helped develop the system to insure a more reliable way to carry letters from congress to the armies and unite the young nation.
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>> it's better to have a product that is one that's based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than trying to jam something through. >> certainly the speaker and i both had the hope that we would be able to pass the health care bill by the time we left here on the 31st of july. >> well, that was senate majority leader reid and house majority leader hoyer. we're back with the panel, brit, mara, bill and juan. juan, where do we stand with this and will it get through?
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>> well, where we stand is that they've missed the deadline. president obama had said he wanted that deadline as an instrument to force something at this moment because he fears that politics are going to intercede the closer we get to 2010 and i think that's right. there's a big hush as people are thinking exactly can be done before the recess. will speaker of the house pelosi force a vote in the house. it doesn't look like there's any possibility on the senate side. we're headed into the recess. there the white house wants to somehow build grassroots pressure especially on conservative democrats to say that health care needs to be fixed and not to get lost in the weeds about cost and tax bills and all that. but here in washington, that's all the talk is about, is about the cost of paying for this health care legislation. >> at the president's suggestion, when he says it has to be deficit neutral, it can't raise the deficit over 10 years, that's why all the costs -- >> without a doubt, that's what the president promised. i think this week he lost an
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opportunity at his press conference to take the reins once again. he has adapted the anti-clinton strategy which is not to lay out exactly what he wants in the hope that the multitude of voices on the hill can be heard and he'll come in as the final arbiter. the result is it is being nitpicked to death and the cost issue has become preeminent instead of fixing what many say is a broken health care system. >> in substantial, less people think this is sound legislation. there's no huge television campaign. they're just being heard on substan substance. on politics, they cannot pass this. if they do, they will pay a huge price in 2010. social security -- think of pieces of legislation. social security was passed with overwhelming support from republicans in 1935. medicare, the great accomplishment of lyndon
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johnson, republicans split 50/50 in the house and senate. you cannot reform 18% of the united states economy with drastic changes and imply the possibility of rationing. on a partisan vote, jamming things through. i hope he takes this to the floor this week and forces the democrats to vote. i think the republicans should say, fine, let's go on record on a current proposal and say do you think this is a good idea or do you want to send a lot more republicans here in 2011 to repeal a lot of these tax increases, these rationing provisions and the like. >> this is not the final bill. if the house can get something to the floor, i think the only way the house can get something to the floor is if the senate finance committee comes out with a package this week that provides a more centrist, and
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that might get you the blue dogs to vote, this is moving the process forward, and i want something that looks more like the senate finance committee bill. that's the best situation for before the recess. >> mara, you're saying they'll vote for a bill -- they're going to vote for a bill they don't like and the house of representatives on the strength of the fact that over in the senate there's something better being proposed that might later be adopted in conference? >> yeah. >> that doesn't sound like a -- >> this is one step in the process. they're trying to pass a house bill. they're trying to pass a senate bill. eventually they'll be melded. you can lose a certain number of blue dogs in the the house. the democrats have a big enough majority. they have a cushion. they have to keep enough of these guys on board and what they said this week, the blue dogs have been very, very transparent. they want this to be deficit neutral. they want it to bend the cost curve down over time.
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>> so you think -- >> they don't want the big tax increases which pelosi has already said -- >> they're still going to be on record as having voted for those things. >> no, they're going to change the bill to make it more appealing to the blue dogs. >> you think if they go home, it gets harder or easier? >> without a bill? i personally think if they go home without a bill, it gets harder. the senate is going home without a bill no matter what. i think it gets harder. >> bill is right. the more the public sees this and sees the performance on it, the less the public likes it. and as a reminder once again of what a colossal blunder it was for the administration to allow the congress to write this bloated and up to now ineffective stimulus program at a cost of something like we've never seen before. $787 billion, which blew a hole in an already swelling deficit, enormously enlarged it, and left it with no money to pay for initiatives like this.
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that's why he's burdened by the need to make it deficit neutral. because he's broke. the administration, the treasury's broke. that's why all these unattractive methods to pay for it, tax increases and assorted other cuts and things like medicare which are popular are all on the table and that's one of the reasons why the bill is so difficult to enact, because it has to be paid for because the stimulus bill already soaked up all the money. >> but the country needed a stimulus package given the debts of the recession. >> remember this, juan -- >> it was a jolt, though. >> remember this about the stimulus bill. the long history of stimulus, by the time it takes effect, recessions are almost always over. the big player in recovering from recessions is always and every time the federal reserve, which was doing all it -- >> we don't know what story bottom line is written on the stimulus yet. all the people talking about the
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prescription drug benefit, it wasn't paid for. two wars weren't on the books. they weren't paid for. a lot of this deficit is not to be blamed on obama. >> that's it for the panel. we'll see you next week. don't forget to check out panel plus after this show. our group continues the discussion on our website, we'll be right back with a final word after this. announcer: welcome to the now network. currently, thousands of people are enjoying the new palm pre from sprint. its revolutionary web os allows multiple applications to run at the same time.
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